Given my curiosity within the stars from yesteryear, I vividly recall a dialog I had with the late TCM movie historian Robert Osborne about Gone With the Wind star Olivia de Haviland.
“We speak every Sunday,” he instructed me. “And I would so like to do an on-camera interview with her for TCM. But she would rather be remembered for her illustrious career instead of anyone wondering what she might look like as an older woman.”
My dialog with Mr. Osborne, if I bear in mind appropriately, was in 2003, which might have made the legendary two-time Oscar successful actress 87 years outdated on the time.
Today it’s my honor, and my privilege, to want Dame Olivia de Haviland a really Happy Birthday. She turns 103.
Movie followers, after all, will bear in mind de Haviland as Melanie Hamilton Wilkes in 1939 traditional Gone With the Wind, which netted the actress her first of 5 Academy Award nominations. But her preliminary film function of prominence was in 1935 swashbuckling pirate movie Captain Blood reverse Errol Flynn. Then of notice, additionally pre-Gone With the Wind (and likewise reverse Errol Flynn), was The Adventures of Robin Hood in 1938.
“This was an early Technicolor classic,” Osborne mentioned about The Adventures of Robin Hood throughout our memorable dialog. “It was the movie that actually was the most effective wanting shade movie of the 1930s; extra so than The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind. It simply by no means bought the credit score it deserves.”
By that point, de Haviland, then 22, was a younger rising star about to achieve an early zenith in an eventual profession that includes 49 movie roles.
Born in Tokyo on July 1, 1916, Olivia Mary de Havilland made her huge display screen debut in 1935 in drama A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Next have been two comparatively unknown comedies, Alibi Ike and The Irish in Us (the latter reverse James Cagney), each in the kind of function she grew to become primarily identified for…the candy and charming love curiosity.
While additionally comparatively unknown, comedy Call It a Day in 1937 gave de Havilland her first starring function. After a string of unmemorable movie components resulting in The Adventures of Robin Hood, it was Gone With the Wind that helped make the yr 1939 one of the vital memorable in cinema historical past. Think Mr. Smith Goes to Washington; Wuthering Heights; Goodbye, Mr. Chips; Dark Victory; Of Mice and Men; Stagecoach; Love Affair; Ninotchka and, after all, The Wizard of Oz.
“Gone With the Wind…you say that identify and it conjures up every kind of photos,” mentioned Robert Osborne in his first post-film introduction when discussing the movie on TCM. “Beautiful, headstrong Scarlett O’Hara; dashing Rhett Butler; Tara; the burning of Atlanta; the performances of Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable, Olivia de Haviland, Leslie Howard and the wonderful Hattie McDaniel.”
Oscar got here calling for Olivia de Havilland for the primary time in 1947 for drama To Each His Own. De Havilland’s efficiency in 1948 drama The Snake Pit was praised as one of many first movies to aim a practical portrayal of psychological sickness. And, in 1950, got here her second golden statue for drama The Heiress. But de Havilland turned down the function of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire (which went to her Gone With the Wind co-star Vivien Leigh) as a result of she needed to spend time together with her younger son, Benjamin Goodrich.
Ultimately, de Havilland’s profession spanned 53 years, from 1935 to 1988. She obtained a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960. She was given an honorary doctorate from the University of Hertfordshire in England. And, whereas her relationship with youthful sister Joan Fontaine remained strained till Fontaine’s loss of life at age 96 in 2013, they’re the one siblings in historical past to be be awarded with an Oscar in a lead appearing class.
More not too long ago, Olivia de Havilland was again within the information in 2017 after submitting a lawsuit in opposition to producer Ryan Murphy for inaccurately portraying her and utilizing her likeness with out permission in FX drama Feud: Bette and Joan.
“I want respect; respect for doing a difficult job,” Olivia de Havilland as soon as mentioned.
“One of the great gifts I have been given is a chance to know this extraordinary lady,” mentioned Osborne. “She truly is one of the finest actresses in cinema history.”
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